Responsibility Sharing ReportMarch 2000


Purpose Header

This Report presents the Department of Defense assessment of the relative contributions toward the common defense and mutual security made by our NATO allies, our Pacific allies, (Japan and the Republic of Korea), and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Under legislative provisions dating to the Defense Authorization Act of 1981 (P.L. 96-342, Section 1006), the Department of Defense is required to compare the defense burdens borne by our allies, explain disparities, and describe efforts to eliminate such disparities. This Report addresses requirements originally set forth in the 1984 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 98-525), Title X, Section 1003, Defense Burdensharing, paragraphs a-d. The most recent baseline legislation addressing this reporting requirement is the FY 1997 National Defense Authorization Act, Title X, Section 1084. This Report also covers burdensharing reporting requirements set forth in the FY 2000 Department of Defense Military Construction Appropriations Act (P.L. 106-52), Section 119.

For the last four years, beginning with the FY 1997 Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 104-201), Congress has recognized that there are multiple and diverse ways in which allies may share the responsibility for achieving mutual security objectives. The Department looks forward to continuing to work with the Congress in structuring a comprehensive and balanced framework within which to evaluate allied contributions to common defense and mutual security.

Organization of this Report Header

This Report is organized into three chapters and a comprehensive data annex. The first chapter presents an executive summary describing the goals of U.S. responsibility sharing policy and providing a brief assessment of country contributions. Chapter II provides a regional perspective of U.S. security interests and highlights the contributions of key allies. Chapter III follows with detailed assessments of country efforts.

Additional information is provided in the Annex, which contains sources and notes, summarizes responsibility sharing contributions on a country-by-country basis, and provides an array of supporting statistics.

This report will also be available on the Department’s web site, DefenseLINK, at


U.S. Responsibility Sharing Policy Header

A National Security Strategy for a New Century (December 1999) identifies a diverse set of threats to U.S. security, including regional or state-centered threats (such as regional aggressors); transnational threats (involving terrorism, international crime, drug trafficking, illicit arms trafficking, uncontrolled refugee migrations, and cyberterrorism); the spread of dangerous technologies (including weapons of mass destruction and the proliferation of non-safeguarded dual-use technologies); environmental and health threats (resource depletion, environmental damage, rapid population growth and new infectious diseases); foreign intelligence collection; failed states; and other states that tolerate or actively engage in human rights abuses, ethnic cleansing or acts of genocide that can endanger regional stability by sparking civil wars and refugee crises.

To meet these challenges, the Administration’s national security strategy stresses the need for integrated approaches, specifically to shape the international environment in ways favorable to U.S. interests and global security, to maintain the ability to respond across the full spectrum of potential threats and crises, up to and including major theater war, and to prepare now to meet an uncertain future. A central aim of the Administration’s strategy is to strengthen and adapt our security relationships – including sharing collective security responsibilities with allies and other friendly nations.

The United States requires integrated regional approaches to promote U.S. security objectives tailored to different areas of the globe. This calls for a broad range of security arrangements. U.S. alliances, particularly our security commitments in NATO, our bilateral relationships with Japan and the Republic of Korea, and our growing partnership with the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), are essential for the projection of American power and influence into areas where vital U.S. interests are at stake. These relationships reflect fundamental shared interests and entail close cooperation in both political and military affairs. They enhance the United States’ ability to achieve its international security objectives and protect vital economic interests. Regional security arrangements enable the United States and its allies to provide the security and stability essential to democracy-building, economic progress, and the orderly resolution of international differences.

The cornerstone of effective alliance relationships is the fair and equitable sharing of mutual security responsibilities, and the proper balancing of costs and benefits. This, in turn, is the basis of U.S. responsibility sharing policy. This broader understanding acknowledges that each country's contribution includes a mix of political, military, and economic elements, and that influencing and increasing allied efforts is a long-term endeavor heavily influenced by specific historical and geographical circumstances (including economic realities). The manner in which allies contribute to shared security objectives is also defined by the very different multilateral (NATO) and bilateral (East Asia-Pacific and Southwest Asia) frameworks within which those contributions are made.

Summary Assessment Header

This section presents the Department’s assessment of country contributions under the terms originally specified in the FY 1997 Defense Authorization Act, as well as a more comprehensive evaluation consistent with previous reports.

Assessment Stipulated by the FY 1997 Defense Authorization Act

Following the framework adopted in the 1997 Report, the U.S. continues to urge its allies to increase their efforts in one or more of the following areas:

Chart I-1 presents an overview assessment of contributions made in each of these categories by our NATO and Pacific allies, and our security partners in the Gulf. The assessment is based on the most recent, complete, and reliable data available: through 1999 for defense spending and multinational military activities, and through 1998 for cost sharing and foreign assistance. The chart shows that all but four of the countries addressed in this Report meet at least one of the Congressional responsibility sharing targets listed above, and nearly half the countries meet at least two of them. As for the four nations that do not meet any of the Congressional criteria, France, the Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal, it must be emphasized that they make substantial contributions in a variety of other important responsibility sharing indicators. National strengths are clearly evident, as are those areas of concern – such as continued pressure on defense budgets – where more clearly needs to be done.

Comprehensive Assessment of Contributions

The targets originally embodied in the FY 1997 Authorization Act are a sound basis upon which to assess nations’ responsibility-sharing efforts, although the Department believes that a thorough evaluation requires a somewhat expanded approach. Because nations’ efforts are subject to short-term volatility, and are influenced by the large differences that exist between the economies, demographics, and standards of living of the nations included in this Report, year-to-year comparisons of absolute levels of effort can be highly misleading. Thus, the Department has long maintained that – in contrast to the short-term, "pass/fail" perspective of the Congressional targets – assessments should acknowledge trends in country contributions, and be based on a country’s ability to contribute.

Previous assessments by the Department have also addressed military personnel and standing forces as key measures of a country’s contribution to shared security objectives. Finally, an assessment of U.S. efforts is included in this Report in order to place U.S. efforts in perspective relative to allied contributions.

This approach yields a more comprehensive assessment than the approach originally mandated in the FY 1997 Defense Authorization Act. That is, when countries’ efforts are analyzed with respect to their ability to contribute, each nation in the Report is found to make substantial contributions in at least one (and the vast majority in at least two) of the four Congressional categories.

The results of this more comprehensive assessment are summarized on Chart I-2. There are many differences between Charts I-1 and I-2, but they are in complete agreement on the category of defense spending, since every nation that met the Congressional defense spending target (i.e., Greece, Turkey and the six GCC nations) also had a defense spending share substantially greater than its corresponding GDP share.

The principal difference between the two charts is that all four countries which failed to satisfy any of the Congressional objectives (France, the Netherlands, Norway and Portugal) on Chart I-1 prove to make significant contributions in the area of multinational military activities when assessed according to their ability to contribute (especially in reaction force commitments and support for UN operations). Furthermore, France, the Netherlands and Norway make substantial foreign assistance contributions, while France and Portugal contribute substantial active-duty military personnel relative to their labor force shares. Portugal also contributes substantial naval tonnage and tactical combat aircraft relative to its GDP share.

Finally, the Department’s more comprehensive approach assesses nations’ performance in the additional areas of military personnel and standing forces (ground, naval, and air). These categories are important to the shared security objectives of deterrence and self-defense, and have been evaluated by the Department in previous reports. Chart I-2 shows that many nations make substantial contributions in relation to their ability to contribute in at least one of these categories. Most notably, Greece, Turkey, Bahrain, and Oman register substantial contributions in all four areas, while Hungary, Portugal, the Republic of Korea, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates achieve this distinction in three categories. In contrast, seven nations (Canada, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Japan) fail to contribute substantially more than their relative share of GDP or labor force in any of these areas.

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As stated in previous reports on this topic, the Department believes that our allies’ and key security partners’ efforts present a mixed, but generally positive picture in terms of shouldering responsibility for shared security objectives.

The United States continues to maintain a close and systematic dialogue with allied governments at all levels concerning responsibility sharing strengths and weaknesses, and this in turn has contributed to an increased awareness of our concerns in allied capitals. The United States will persist in engaging allies in this manner, focusing on the need for increased attention to defense budgets and host nation support, and further strengthening of foreign assistance and participation in both bilateral and multilateral efforts to enhance our collective security. The Defense Capabilities Initiative that was launched at NATO’s 50th Anniversary Summit in 1999 is an important new Alliance undertaking in this regard. This Initiative addresses improvements in five major areas: 1) deployability and mobility; 2) sustainability and logistics; 3) consultation, command and control; 4) effective engagement; and 5) survivability of forces and infrastructure. Improvements in allied military capabilities in these five areas will be essential for the success of the European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI) initiative, which calls for European nations to establish a capability to conduct large-scale crisis management operations in cases where NATO chooses not to intervene. Chapter 2 provides a further discussion of DCI and ESDI. These are evolutionary efforts, and the United States will continue to press for progress across the board.

Finally, the Department continues to urge – in the interests of achieving a balanced assessment of nations’ efforts – that short-term pass/fail objectives be supplemented with a review of longer-term trends based on countries’ ability to contribute.

Home | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Annex